BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 5: Romans 12:1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Questions:

13)  Renewing of your mind through the power of the Holy Spirit/God.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.  Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.  Speaking God’s Word into the minds of others when the opportunity arises.  Taking my kids to church and bible study.  Teaching them to put God first in their world.

15)  “his good, pleasing, perfect will.”

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

Most people confuse their will with God’s will and justify their will as God’s.  People also use God as a scapegoat for their sinful actions.  Reality is it is hard to know God’s will since we can’t know everything like God does.  But if you know His Word, His character, His heart, and His justice then through prayer He will reveal it.  But if it has anything to do with sin, it’s not God.

16)

John 14:15:  God’s will can be found in loving Him and obeying His commands.

2 Corinthians 10:5:  Take captive your thoughts to make them align to God’s will and obedience to Christ and rid ourselves of arguments and pretensions that is against the Word of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7:  We should live a sanctified/holy life, avoiding sexual immorality, learning to control your own body in a holy way, and not take advantage of others.

James 5:13-16:  One should pray when in trouble, sing when happy, have others pray over you if you’re sick, and confess your sins.  Our prayers are powerful and effective.

1 Peter 2:15:  Do good to silence the ignorance of the foolish.

1 Peter 3:17:  Live as servants of God (verse 16), respect others, love others, fear God, and honor God.

1 Peter 4:1-11:  Live for God’s will, which is being clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray, loving each other, offer hospitality to others without grumbling, use your gifts to serve others, speak as if speaking the very words of God, serve with God’s strength so that God is given the glory.

Conclusions:  One of my favorite parts of BSF is when they do send us to other parts of the Bible on certain subjects.  Hence, I loved question 16 because on my own I never would have made these connections.  Yeah, BSF!  I also love 2 Cor 10:5 because it puts the power in our hands.   1 Peter 4:11 is powerful.  Speak as if God were speaking.  Awesome!

All of this shows us how powerful we truly are.  We don’t give ourselves enough credit.  You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Jr to change the world.  Change those around you and you’ll change the world.  Because then they will change others and the ripple effect will be far more than we’ll ever know.  Live God in you.  Quit worrying about others.  Change yourself.  Change your loved ones.  God will do the rest.

Conclusions to Lesson 21:  This was my favorite lesson so far.  Small verse focus but great questions that re-enforced key ideas we all need to be reminded of.  It all starts with you.  Change yourself first.  Live the life God wants you to live.  Remember others and love others.  Live for Him.  He’ll doe the rest.

End Notes: [Same as Day 2‘s]  Chapters 12:1-15:33.  Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter.  This does not mean he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point because as we saw Chapters 6-8 touched on this already but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life.  These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in Chapters 1-11.  In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believer and thinking. Faith expresses itself in obedience.

“Therefore”  It is Paul’s pattern to begin a letter with a strong doctrinal section and follow with exhortations to Christian living. Paul begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them.  Here, God gives us all things.  Now, how do we show Him gratitude for that?  With our bodies and our minds.

“Urging us” reminds us that we still have a choice in how we live for God.

“In view of God’s mercy” reminds us we do this because of the mercy God grants us (Romans 1-11).  In fact, we are only able to offer ourselves to Him because of His mercy.  Some of the mercies Paul has told us about already:

· Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin

· Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ

· Placed under grace, not law

· Giving the Holy Spirit to live within

· Promise of help in all affliction

· Assurance of a standing in God’s election

· Confidence of coming glory

· Confidence of no separation from the love of God

· Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

Think of “body” here as your entire being for your heart, soul, spirit, and mind are in your body. Paul is saying here give God your entire self.  God wants you!

Many today let their body rule in terms of engaging in physical pleasures.  Paul says no!  Our mind is the will and our mind brings the body as servant to God.

Ancient Greeks dismissed the body as unspiritual so this teaching would have shocked them.  Paul says God is concerned about our bodies, which were dearly bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).

A living sacrifice is a dichotomy especially in the first century AD where sacrifices involved death.  The whole idea is the sacrifice is ongoing.  Paul could be contrasting dead animal sacrifices here as well or perhaps “living” in the sense of having the Holy Spirit.

“Holy and pleasing to God”:  The standard for sacrifices made to God under the New Covenant are not any less than the standard under the Old Covenant.

Sacrifices in the Old Testament:

· He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10)

· But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 15:21)

The idea of a sweet aroma to the Lord is almost always linked to the idea of an offering made by fire. There is a “burning” in this matter of a living sacrifice. It also shows that Paul has in mind the burnt offering, in which the entire sacrifice was given to the Lord. In some sacrifices, the one offering the sacrifice and the priest shared in the some of the meal, but never in the burnt offering.

Today, the holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life.  As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities.

“Spiritual act of worship”:  This was translated as “reasonable service”.  The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” (as it is in 1 Peter 2:2). Reasonable service is a life of worship according to God’s Word.

Another translation says “true and proper worship”.  This is to emphasize not merely ritual worship activity but the involvement of heart, mind, and will in worship and obedient service.

Verse 2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the life that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 4: Romans 10:5-9

Summary of passage:  Moses described righteousness by the law in terms of works.  But if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved.

Questions:

9)  Paul concludes that righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and works has nothing to do with it since the law under Moses is now obsolete with Jesus.

10)  Confess that Jesus is their Lord and believe God raised him from the dead in their heart to cleanse us of our sins and justify us before God.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  One must believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord in their life and believe he died, washing away our sins, and God raised him from the dead, granting all eternal salvation.  You must also confess your belief.  Faith is what matters.  Nothing else does.

Conclusions:  Romans is a lot of repetition.  Here, Paul is quoting Moses from the Old Testament and repeating how faith in Christ is the key to salvation, not works.  Remember this section here is not only to the Gentiles and the Romans but to the Jews as well.  Paul is pulling from the Old Testament (what the Jewish people knew by heart) to substantiate his words of faith in Christ as the key to salvation.

End Notes:  The law of Moses said you must do the law completely and perfectly in order to have righteousness by the law.  The law of Jesus says we don’t have to do anything to achieve righteousness.  Instead, we receive righteousness through faith in Jesus.  We believe, we receive.  We don’t have to ascend into heaven or descend into the deep to have it.

In Deuteronomy 30:14 that Paul quotes, the word is God’s word as found in the law.  Paul applies this to the gospel of “the message concerning faith” or “the word of faith” and uses it to be how righteousness if gained by faith not deeds.

Confessing is recognizing and agreeing that Christ is Lord and Savior and that the cross is the only way to salvation.

In first century AD, calling someone “Lord” was taken much more seriously than in modern times because they truly did have lords in that day.

Barclay states:  “If a man called Jesus kurios he was ranking him with the Emperor and with God; he was giving him the supreme place in his life; he was pledging him implicit obedience and reverent worship.”

Wuest, quoting Robertson on Jesus Christ is Lord: “No Jew would do this who had not really trusted Christ, for Kurios in the lxx is used of God. No Gentile would do it who had not ceased worshipping the emperor as Kurios. The word Kurios was and is the touchstone of faith.”

Fun Facts:  This affirmation “Jesus is Lord” is the earliest Christian confession of faith (1 Corinthians 12:3) which served as the equivalent to the Jewish Sherma and was probably used at baptisms.  “Lord” is used over 6000 times in the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT) to translate Israel’s God (Yahweh).  It’s clear that Paul, when using this title for Jesus, is affirming that God of Israel was present in Jesus among his people.

Heart–In Biblical terms this is not only emotions and affections but also intellect and will.

Jesus rising from the dead is the crux of Christian doctrine.  If this doesn’t happen, we don’t live nor are we alive now.  This is the central thrust of apostolic preaching (Acts 2:14-40).

You will be saved probably includes final salvation at the end times as well.

You must confess AND believe that what God/Jesus did on the cross is what will save you and cleanse you and make you righteous and justified.

Spurgeon explains the kind of faith you need:  “We believe everything which the Lord Jesus has taught, but we must go a step further, and trust him. It is not even enough to believe in him, as being the Son of God, and the anointed of the Lord; but we must believe on him . . . The faith that saves is not believing certain truths, nor even believing that Jesus is a Savior; but it is resting on him, depending on him, lying with all your weight on Christ as the foundation of your hope. Believe that he can save you; believe that he will save you; at any rate leave the whole matter of your salvation with him in unquestioning confidence. Depend upon him without fear as to your present and eternal salvation. This is the faith which saves the soul.”

We must confess, believe, trust, rely, rest, depend, and embrace God and Jesus.  This is what God wants.  God is all encompassing.  God is everything.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 9, Day 5: Romans 5:20-21

Summary of passage:  The purpose of the law was to show man his sin more so that God could show man His need for grace and a Savior more.

Questions:

10a)  If no one states the rules/laws, how would you know you are breaking them?  How would you know what God expects if He doesn’t state it?  Sin needed to be defined.  One can’t rely on self (which is full of sin) to say what’s right and wrong.  The law amplified our sins, showed us our need for a Savior, and in God’s perfect timing (when man was ripe to receive), God sent Jesus to save us.

The law draws clear lines between right and wrong and man (like little kids) want to cross those lines to test what they can get away with.  Hence, man sins even more because of man’s sinful nature.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As more and more sins are acceptable or tolerated (i.e. homosexuality, murder, rape, etc) more and more people follow the crowd and the power of crowd mentality.  As thus, our need for a Savior grows as our sins grow.

11)  Personal Question that really shouldn’t be asked.  My answer:  Generically, I know I’m a faulty parent.  I also know I’m a good parent.  But with God’s grace He’ll overcome my sins in my parenting and allow my children to grow up to awesome individuals.

12)  Heaven(Kingdom of God/Jesus where grace reigns through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus) and hell (Kingdom of Satan where sin leads to death).  They dwell permanently in each.

Conclusions:  Again, too little here to justify 4 questions (hence the personal nature of such).  Anyone else wish BSF would cut the study instead of add “fillers” to lengthen it?  6 months would be good.  Then they could throw on Galatians or something smaller to make it a full year.

End Notes:  Compared to God’s holy standard, sin stands in stark contrast, which was the purpose of the law so man could see that.  However, God’s grace super-abounds (“increased all the more”) to cover man’s sins.  Thus, we can’t sin more than God can forgive.  However, we can reject his forgiveness.

Sin reigns in death.  Grace reigns through righteousness, granting eternal life, because of Jesus. Titus 2:11-12 tells us how to live (not sinning purposely) but living righteously.

Grace is not a license to sin.  Grace challenges us to overcome it through the power of Jesus!